I’ve been observing my daughter a lot lately.
Her cheeky smile with it’s flashing double dimples, or the way she looks up at me after doing something naughty and says “it was an accident,” when she and I both know that it was bloody not an accident and now she’s trying it on like a pork chop… and we smile.
I’ve been watching her carefree laughter that makes her crazy blonde curls bob around her face.
I’ve been sneaking into her room and lying down next to her to watch her cherubic face while it sleeps, breathing in her warm breath as she snuffles in her sleep.
I’ve been marveling at how lucky we are to have each other. I feel all of these things for my son, naturally, but the reason I’m feeling them so deeply for Kiki right now has a lot to do with my new job.
I’m investigating stories all the time, rarely are they good news. Often they are horrific parental infractions against girls. Some boys, of course, they are not spared from the horrors of the world, but mostly it’s girls.
Girls being prostituted by their mothers in Kenya, such an unfathomable atrocity. I look at Kiki’s sweet, trusting innocence and I wonder what kind of parent could sell their child’s precious body.
If someone tried to take my child’s body I would fight like a wild tiger and I would die for her. In the heat of the moment to help the creature born from my very cells, I would kill for her.
To keep her safe, and innocent and whole.
The Rafiki Mwema safe-house, in a nutshell, is a place in Kenya where they house girls that are victims of sexual crimes. They not only put them through the court system so their offender feels the hand of justice for their crimes and get them the medical attention required because a tiny body has been broken by a forceful adult, but they teach them something very valuable.
The incredible team teach the girls what it is to be loved because many of them have not known that feeling, so they do not know that they are worthy, valuable and beautiful creatures of the Universe who deserve to feel safe and warm.
The story of these babies- and they are babies starting from one-year-old up to 14 – hit me somewhere pretty deep in my soul and I can’t help but think how damned lucky we are just through sheer birth and geography. Lucky that I was born somewhere where this type of crime is unusual, and not an everyday occurrence.
I then had a long interview with a remarkable young woman who survived her mother’s Munchausen by proxy. Again, horror at the hand of a parent.
I won’t go into the story here, but if you want to read an incredible tale of resilience you can read it on AWW here.
All of this stuff that I’m experiencing through work, this new constant stream of news, makes me look at my life and thank my lucky stars that I was cherished by my mother, and in turn I can cherish my children by merely displaying the behaviour that was modeled to me.
Not that long ago when my life was looking kind of messy my mother said to me –
“Danielle, you are beautiful, you are intelligent and you are worthy.”
I wish every girl had a mum to put gems such as this into their pockets, because when your mum builds you up the world feels less scary.
I feel so very lucky to have been born to my Mum, and Kiki in turn is lucky to be born to me.
But it is just luck, we are the lucky girls.
I decided last week to take a little bit of my luck and share it with one of the Rafiki Mwema girls in hope that by making a small contribution to her life I can help turn around some the shitty luck she was born into. I can’t help all of the unlucky girls, but by helping just one I know that I’m doing a little something of significance with all the good fortune I have.
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